Sunday, October 29, 2006

Alabama Politics: Puttin on the Spikes

BY GUEST BLOGGER: My Witty Husband

Photo to the left: Jim Folsom, Jr. is running as a Democrat for Lt. Governor. The NRA rates him A, and I still like him.

It’s election season in Alabama, circa 2006, a little over a week before the Christian conservatives elect their pulpit-praying, “right-wing” candidates.

The ads tell the full story. Lucy Baxley, according to Bob Riley’s ads, is “Too Liberal” for Alabama. It seems that she made the dire mistake of sending money to support the Democratic presidential candidate, John Kerry of Swift boat-ad fame, even though she’s a Democrat. In the ads against Baxley, she’s also tied to the former governor Don Siegelman, a Democrat convicted of corruption.

Luther Strange, the Lieutenant Governor candidate, slings mud as well. He’s running as a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor against Jim Folsom, a former Alabama governor who’s the son of another, now-deceased governor. In Alabama, politics are complicated.

In his TV ads, Strange (and he is strange) charges Jim Folsom with being on the take while he was Alabama governor. The ads also charge Jim Folsom with the deadly sin of running with “too liberal” Democrat Lucy Baxley. The icing on the cake: the ads attempt to tie Folsom to corrupt politician Siegelman.

In his ads, Folsom comes on with a big smile and laughs at the charges.

This is the back-story to a phone call I received surveying my opinions about these candidates.

The caller, sounding like he’s in some conservative hell, his voice echoing into my phone, begins to ask me questions about who I’m for, what I stand for, and why in the sam hill I’m not voting for Luther Strange. But that’s the end of the conversation.

Let’s go to the beginning. First, he asked me if I was going to vote. I told him that even if I was shot in a 7-11 I’d have the ambulance drop me off at the voting booth before I went to the hospital. He then asked me if I knew who the candidates—Bob Riley, Lucy Baxley, Luther Strange, Jim Folsom—were. I thought: “If I’m going to vote, wouldn’t I know who these people are, you numbskull?”

Then he asked me who I’d vote for governor: Riley or Baxley. “Baxley,” I emphasized.

“What’s your opinion of Riley?” he asked. He gave me several vague choices, and I said I had no opinion. In other words, the guy’s bland.

“What’s your opinion of Baxley?”
Again, several vague choices. I think I said: “She would make the best governor for Alabama.”

The guy then moved to Strange vs. Folsom. “What do you know about Strange?” he asked. “I know he’s a liar,” I replied.

He then asked me who I planned to vote for: Strange or Folsom. I said: “Folsom.”

Next question: “Why won’t you vote for Strange?”
“Because he’s a lying bastard,” I said. “His ads are full of lies against Jim Folsom, and I’d rot in hell before I vote for someone like that. His charges against Jim have been proven wrong. If Jim did half the things this bastard said he’d done he’d be in jail.”

Then the dumb-ass asked me if I was a Republican or Democrat? “It’s obvious I’m a Democrat,” I said.

He then asked me if I considered myself liberal, somewhat liberal, conservative, somewhat conservative. If I called myself liberal, I knew he’d list me with the pedophiles so I said: “Somewhat conservative.”

Last question: Do you attend church every week, regularly, rarely, never?
“Regularly,” I said.

It was obvious that this guy was a shill for Strange so I passed myself off as a Christian conservative who happens to be smart and wise enough to vote Democrat for the good of my state and my country.


Tim said...

Witty post, Jim - nice to "see" Mr. Sheila. ;)

I not too familiar with the Bama candidates, so unfortunately I cannot form an opinion one way or another. However, your story of the Right Wingers doesn't ring as a new story to my eyes; I know all too well of their actions and shameless strategies for elections. They'll stop at nothing to win the majority.

Anyone that knows me well enough knows that I'm all too unhappy with both parties, unfortunately, due to the way our campaigns are run, we're left with little choice other than the Dems and Repubs - it only comes down to which direction either of them swing.

I'd rather like to see a return to the 19th century, where we had several parties to choose from, and no one could convince me that the weaker parties would take votes away from the stronger ones. In a few elections, yes, however as a good party gains publicity, it too, would become as strong as the Dems or Reps. Some politicians just don't want to admit that they can't handle a healthy and fair debate, not to mention the heat.

And I pass the soap back to you, sir.

Again, great post and hope to see you around now and again.

* Regards from a fellow "Good ol' boy" in Norway. *

Dirty Butter said...

Since I've always lived in Alabama, I really have no point of comparison. Is the politics in other states just as full of emotional labeling and mud slinging as our state is year after year, or is this just an Alabama specialty?

Sheila said...

Thanks, Tim. I'll pass along the remarks to husband who tends to get riled up over politics and I thought it best not to reveal his name. Of course, people here know who I am and therefore, certainly can figure out who he is. Funny thing though, I asked him about writing stuff and if I needed to tone it down, and he said no. So, anyone reading this needs to know my opinions are mine and his are his.

We do have a third party candidate for governor in Alabama, Loretta Nall, who is running as a Libertarian on what most folks describe a "pot platform." She wants to legalize it.

I, too, wish the candidates could get beyond the mudslinging. But some ads are just too much.

Well, Dirty, I have lived in Missouri, Texas, Ohio and Illinois and I can safely say they all have their share of mud too. I guess since I grew up here in Alabama, I am most familiar with politics Alabama-style. As a teenager when Albert Brewer was running against George Wallace I remember the nasty radio ads. So, these ads are really nothing new and I suppose people in other states are saying the same thing as I am. Negative ads do work, and it seems as though we have more than usual this year.

I am so frustrated by the state of politics. Call me naive, but whatever happened to someone who just wanted to make the world a little better for our children? The special interests groups have bought our government in my opinion. We are mostly pawns in their money game of chess.

Dirty Butter said...

I figured as much, that we weren't the only state with such terrible mudslinging. It's come to the point that I really don't want to vote for any of them, and that's horrible!

Sheila said...

I am one of those people who think campaign finance laws need revising. It has become so that the only groups or people who have access and influence are people with money. As long as there's all this money to waste on ads that have nothing to do with issues, this problem will continue. Instead we get more name calling and no focus on what is truly important.